Texas Southern adds another chapter to its messy coaching search

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The third time wasn’t the charm for Texas Southern fans hoping for its next head football coach. The school’s Board of Regents met in a special meeting for the third time in two weeks, with one item repeatedly on the agenda, to approve the contract for a head coach.

After three attempts, it appears the search for a new head coach is back to square one. Who could be a candidate at this point? A couple of names have emerged during the process, which will be discussed after catching up on the timeline of events.


November 14 - Word leaks that some players have been informed McKinney would not return. TSU Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics, Dr. Kevin Granger, denied the report.

November 20 - News is confirmed that Clarence McKinney’s contract will not be renewed. McKinney’s contract is set to expire on Dec. 15. This date will be mentioned again soon.

November 28 - The Houston Chronicle publishes a story on why former Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson would be the right fit for TSU. This story will come into play again later.

December 7 - Sources indicate TSU has narrowed its search to two candidates, former Nebraska coach Mickey Joseph and former Colorado defensive backs coach Brett Maxie. Notably, our sources had stated the search was already a mess.

December 13 - Sources confirmed Texas Southern was set to name Fred McNair head coach within the next two days. McNair spent the last eight seasons at SWAC rival Alcorn State.

December 15 - A virtual special meeting is called to “Request Approval to Appoint and Negotiate Employment Contract for Head Football Coach.” This was when the dysfunction began to show as the Board of Regents could not reach a quorum.

December 19 - Another virtual special meeting is called to seek approval to appoint and negotiate a contract with the head football coach. Again, no decision was reached. HBCU Legends reports that two members either failed to attend or disagreed with the selection because some preferred Andre Johnson to be head coach. 

December 19 - Alcorn State releases a statement mentioning an inability to reach an agreement on a new contract. The Braves quickly promoted defensive coordinator Cedric Thomas to head coach.

December 28 - TSU’s Board of Regents meet and again defer on approving a head coach. “The hiring of a head football coach is a strategic decision that cannot be taken lightly,” Dr. Granger said in a statement released. “I will be taking a few additional days to consider candidates for the coaching vacancy and will work closely with Interim President Dr. Mary Sias and the Board to announce a hiring decision shortly.”

In other words, McNair will not be the head coach, and their coaching search is beginning anew. The question is whether they will work together to try and convince Andre Johnson to be head coach or restart the search from scratch. If they are seeking to make headlines, Johnson will be the choice. But I wonder whether that strategy will work. Johnson is not Deion Sanders.

If the administration chooses to find someone with at least head coaching experience, if not extensive coaching experience, then who are the choices now? Sources have indicated former Tennessee State coach Rod Reed is an option. The Marshall, Texas native worked at Prairie View A&M and East Texas Baptist before spending 18 seasons at Tennessee State, including the final 11 years as head coach.

Another possible name to watch is long-time NFL assistant coach Alvin Reynolds. The Indiana State alum spent time with the Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Atlanta Falcons before coaching at NCAA Division II Bentley. Reynolds led Bentley to a 7-3 overall record in his only season as head coach in 2022.

Remarkably, all three organizational bodies did not work together to find a head coach from the beginning. Although it was apparent teamwork needed to be included before three meetings were called for the same agenda item. 

However, Dr. Granger’s statement indicates this new search will be conducted differently. Texas Southern faithful hope the administration fixes the issues made public during the first search. This is an embarrassing episode in TSU history, and they’ve lost valuable time during this recruiting cycle and transfer window to improve the roster. 

It’s time for Texas Southern’s administration to mitigate the damage to its reputation over the last few weeks and work together to find a head coach.

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